I’ll describe this week as bipolar. Up and down, sky high and low, low. What a funny collection of tired and exhilarated I felt.
Who knows why? But my rhythm was a bit off. Perhaps it was as result of the cold working it’s way through my family. And, yet, there were highlights.
Like a perfect picnic under February sun.
My children frolicked, as only children can.
And I got up to collecting the many moments and gifts of the day.
Picnic blankets on a solitary beach.
A 4-year-old photographer.
“Lion-head” trees in winter.
A sun-kissed baby.
Eyes that look deep.
Bare feet in February.
What was I lamenting?
I certainly can’t recall.
Blown away in the face of all these blessings.
It’s February, and I am fast approaching my first blogiversary. Just under a year ago, I began Musings from the Middle, as a way to track all of the amazing changes I’d been experiencing in my life. My heart is full, even now, as I read over some of the posts I wrote last year. The hopes and dreams and wonderful directions in which I was going. And, thankfully, continue to be (albeit somewhat stalled).
Last year, I:
1. Started blogging
2. Quit my job
3. Wrote a novel
4. Started a business
5. Rediscovered photography
6. Generally fell in love with life
I have to say, it was a good year. It was fueled by the discovery of a few wonderful books, and the help of a few wonderful people (my husband and children).
I’m not sure what to say, but my heart has been asking me to come back to this place. The place where it all began. Running an online community, while learning how to learn with my children, while desperately finding ways to generate income has been – well, busy. I’ve been online a lot. And none of it here.
But, past few weeks, especially leading up to the day I started writing my novel last year (and thinking of what has come since then), have made me introspective. And, I’ve been trying to remember why I started all of this in the first place.
So, however this goes.
I’m welcoming myself back to this place.
This place of recognizing the beauty in life.
The moments and the wonder that make it worthwhile.
The creativity that blossoms when we least expect it.
And the wise voices that infuse it.
For anyone with a creative soul who reads this. Welcome yourself back to that place. The place where it all began. The place that helps you remember. And the place the fires you up.
Go forth and create. And capture and cherish those moments that make your heart sing.
Happy year two.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, and, besides filling up on turkey, I’ve been giving a little bit of thought to thanks.
First off, a few of the things I’m thankful for this year:
1. Eight years of marriage to my wonderful, supportive, creative-minded husband. (We got married on Thanksgiving weekend, which, consequently, is an easy way to remember the date, and to be thankful for each other every year).
2. My two most beautiful children. Their personalities just glow, and I am so thrilled to get to know them more each day.
3. My family. My parents, and my sisters, and my elderly grandparents, including my 96-year-old grandmother, who I recently went to visit in Saskatchewan.
Visiting my grandmother could have been hard. I took my baby with me to see my grandmother, perhaps for the last time. It was a lovely visit, and my daughter took her first real steps right there, in my grandma’s room! It was a very special visit, imbued with the beauty of the prairie scenery, and heightened by the contemplation of life and death.
While there, my aunt said something that resonated with me. ”Old people really help you realize what is important.” I’ve been thinking a lot about that, especially in light of Thanksgiving. And it really is true.
My grandmother recently fell, and broke her pelvis. She could have simply given up, and allowed herself to rest in her last days. But, there she was, walking the halls in her walker everyday, because that is what she has been asked to do. Because that is what is needed. Because that is what you do. My grandmother grew up farming on the prairies, and, perhaps, this upbringing has allowed her to become the person she is. On a farm, there are always things that need doing. And you do them, not because you always want to, but because they need doing. Her dogged determination, her discipline, so impressed me (and made me realize, among other things, how small are my excuses for not exercising).
I went to visit my grandmother with hesitations, wondering how she would be, if it would be hard to say goodbye. But, when I got there, she was the same, wonderful, strong woman she always has been. And, instead of trying to say all kinds of things, and fill our time together, I just enjoyed spending some quiet time together. Enjoyed watching her enjoy my daughter, her great-granddaughter. And I realized that, instead of desperately trying to ask all the things I wanted to ask, I could look back on her life, and learn from her actions. Past and present.
Watching her, I got the feeling that my wonderful grandmother was at peace about death. At peace about death, and the life she has lived. It seemed to clear to me, that, at the end of her life, she was happy with the simple life she has lived. The people she has loved, and those that have loved her. And she doesn’t seem to regret the things not done, or the goals not achieved. Because the simple beauty of watching her great-granddaughter learn to walk trumps all of that.
I hope one day to be ready to go. To have lived a rich, full, life, and to have people who love me to survive me. I hope to be as blessed, and as determined as my grandmother. And to be as full of life, even at the end. And, in some way, for my actions to be an example to others, too.
This year, I am giving thanks for the richness of the life that she has lived, and the richness of the life I now live. And I realize, more than ever, that it is the people that make one’s life meaningful. And all the other stuff just falls away.
So, I am thankful for all of the moments I get with my family, and the richness of those moments. Knowing my children make me a better person, and my grandmother does, too.
(This post was originally published at: http://www.thehomeschoolcoop.com).
Hi, my name is Kelly, and I am a craft supply hoarder. For years, I’ve been keeping scraps of paper, ribbons, paints, fabric and just about anything else you can think of. For rainy days that never seem to come. Because I love stamps and can’t get enough of them. And don’t get me started on stick-on-tattoos…
For years I’ve been saving these items for just the right time. And it has never been the right time – UNTIL NOW!
A few weeks ago, my three-year old son, Dylan, was disappointed because he lost the tattoo he was given at a fair. ”Can’t we get another one?” he asked. I was about to reply, “Sorry, but we can’t go back. It’s gone,” when I realized something. ”Of course you can have a new one – when we get home!” We were both thrilled when I opened up my box of tattoos (yes, a box of them, albeit smallish), and let him pick one (he could probably pick one every day for the rest of the year, but he doesn’t know that).
And, the other day, we were looking for something to stamp onto homemade wrapping paper for a friend’s birthday present… Wait!? I have stamps! Do I ever. We got them all out, and had a blast.
Today, it was fabric. We started sewing a bag for school supplies (as part of a charity project for Ten Thousand Villages – makes a great community giving activity for kids, by the way). Dylan pushed the foot pedal, while I guided the fabric. Before starting we went down to my handy-dandy (yes, I did say that) sewing box and picked a piece of fabric that was just right.
Some time last year, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it she talks about spending out – or using up what you have, rather than hoarding. I’ve been trying it with my craft supplies – and it turns out I love to share!
I can hardly wait for us to try out polaroid transfers, plaster photo frames, scrapbooking, and stickering (oh the stickers!) together.
I knew I was saving this stuff for something. Any kindred spirits out there?
I always find September to be a time of rebirth and renewal. A time of excitement and a certain freshness that echoes the cooler temperatures. I love breathing in September air. And I love looking forward on the horizon.
September always feels like the start of a new year (much more so than January). Something about the end of the hot weather, and the shorter evenings signal a new sense of organization in me. As though I know my days are getting shorter, and I’d better make better use of my time!
This year, my September preparation largely revolves around my children. Making the decision not to send my son to preschool, I have been deciding what we might do instead. How we might choose to structure our days, in a way that works for all of our family members. What classes he’ll take, what events we’ll attend, what homeschooling supplies to purchase, if any. And what elements we want in our day, and in what order.
However, this September, I also want to think about me. Summer always feels like a time for being out of the house, enjoying life at the tips of my fingers. A bit of everything, a gathering of experiences. Fall feels like rhythm. Like settling in, buckling down and diving in.
So what will I dive into this September? My new business, The Homeschool Co-op. But, I also want to make more time to read, and remember the other parts of me (that don’t involve a computer). This fall, I am going to read over my novel, and decide on whether or not to edit it. I also want to continue improving my photography. And, I do know I am itching for some stability and good old fashioned rhythm and routine.
It isn’t like me, but this year I crave a schedule. I crave some order, and some new and awesome experiences.
So, I looking forward to breathing in the fresh September air, and taking out the cool weather clothing. I am looking forward to doing some of the things I have been talking about. Homeschooling, writing, blogging, growing a business, and cherishing my children.
Mostly, I want to catch September fever. That time of year when anything seems possible, and new beginnings are a given. I want to learn something new, and fly with it.
Welcome to September everyone! And what are you looking forward to this season?
Life has been getting in the way! Summer is such a wonderful season, and I’ve got to admit I have just plain been having fun. But, the past few months have been big ones in terms of life change, and growth, too. I figure it’s time for me to record these things, and, so, here it goes.
As the year has progressed a few priorities have come to light for me.
- To be a stay-at-home mom. Learning and living with my kids, daily.
- To be a homeschooler. An extension of the first.
- To explore creative options for work, and to continue to use my expertise, while stretching myself.
- To spend more time outside.
To this end:
- The kids and I have been playing outside almost every day. The wonderful therapy of sunny (or overcast) summer days, woodland walks, exploring and bike riding has been, well, wonderful. (An exciting side benefit has been all of the new photographs I’ve been inspired to take while breathing it all in).
- I resigned from my full-time job, instead working on call every once in awhile. I still get to be a librarian, and I get to appreciate being at work, because I don’t resent the fact that it is taking me away from my children everyday.
- I have embraced the idea of homeschooling, and have been doing tons of reading, research, and learning with my kids.
- I have started a brand new form of work: The Homeschool Co-op. Combining my expertise as a librarian (research, writing, reader’s advisory skills), and my passion for homeschooling, I have started a brand new business. In essence, it’s an online homeschool co-op: a place for people to share their passions & expertise with one another. It’s part blog, part social network, part resource sharing & book recommendation, and a large part heart.
If your interest is homeschooling – check it out (www.thehomeschoolcoop.com). I’d love to have you join our community.
This entire year has truly been a process of growth, rediscovery and refinement.
Many thanks for reading, and here’s to an invigorating fall (always a season of new beginnings for me, but that’s the subject of another post).
If you’ve had any major (or minor) life changing decisions of late, I’d love to hear about them.
Wanderlust has hit again. It started with a book (as it always does for me). The Art of Non-Conformity, written by Chris Guillebeau. A fantastic handbook on living a life outside the box. The author himself is currently engaged in travelling to every country in the world. Then, I read about the book, Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts. Requested it from the library… read it until it was due (arghh). Then, my husband brings home, Book Lust To Go by Nancy Pearl (arguably North America’s most famous living librarian). It’s a book of travel booklists.
I love booklists.
I spent the weekend, first with a wonderful old friend that I had backpacked with 12 (twelve!) years ago, and with my parents, who are getting ready for a riverboat cruise in Europe.
It’s been enough to make my mind feel like a pinball machine.
So, I ask myself these questions: can a mother really travel with her kids? (Yes, I know it can be done). Can this mother really travel with her kids? Should I even attempt it? (After “travelling” overnight to my parents with them, I feel exhausted and just a little daunted).
And, supposing I could, there would still be one problem… summed up by this quote I remember reading once, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Which can mean many things to many people, but, to me, at this point, means just one thing. You get on a plane, thinking to have the adventure of a lifetime, and when you get there, you discover you are still in your own shoes. Still very much in your own mind. You haven’t left one thing behind. Oddly, the plane ride hasn’t changed you.
I distinctly remember having this feeling upon flying into Scotland (wait…thirteen!!?) years ago. How very surreal it was to be in Scotland, and to still be me. Feeling very much like me, in a different place. I can only say, it was a bit unnerving. Of course, I got used to it. And the trip was amazing. But, it lost just a touch of its magic by having me there… Am I making any sense? Like it all felt too normal. Too weirdly comfortable.
The contrast between the dreams and plans I had made, and the reality of myself.
I am older now, and I am prepared for this, what I am dubbing “the paradox of wanderlust.” Lusting after an experience, something that forces us to step outside of ourselves. Only, of course, there is no outside. Only us in a new setting. And, yes, there is change. But, it happens gradually, on the inside. In our hearts and minds. It isn’t magic, but it is meaningful.
I’m pretty sure I’m rambling at this point (not entirely sure I’m even using the word paradox correctly). Wondering if anyone else has experienced this themselves? Or mulled on it? And what does it mean to bring ourselves on our most anticipated adventures? Are we dampened or enlightened by the company? Next time, I’m hoping for the latter. So, I’ll continue plodding along on the path to self-improvement.
Hey, besides, next time, I’ll be bringing two little souls with me, and I’ll take a gander that I won’t have many moments for quiet self-reflection. If I’m lucky, I may not even notice I’m there.
So, I think I’ll end with the quote that brought all this on. Thanks to Nancy Pearl for sharing it. Although, I think I like myself a fair bit more than Ralph did himself, thankfully.
Traveling is a fool’s paradise… I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, I know at least one other person (and a person of consequence at that!) has felt the paradox (how I love literature).
If you’ve made it to the end here, thanks for bearing with me. Comments are always appreciated!